Author Topic: Kerry ‘completely capitulated’ to Hamas in ceasefire proposal, say Israeli sources  (Read 176 times)

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Israeli government sources on Saturday night accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of “completely capitulating” to the demands of Hamas and its champion Qatar in drafting the Gaza war ceasefire proposal that Israeli ministers unanimously rejected on Friday.

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The unnamed sources, quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 TV, said Kerry “dug a tunnel under the Egyptian ceasefire proposal” — which Israel accepted and Hamas rejected last week — and presented the Israeli government with a text that accepted “most of the demands” raised by Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Strip.

To the “horror” of the Israeli ministers, the Kerry proposal accepted Hamas’s demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza — where Israel and Egypt fear the import of weaponry; the construction of a seaport; and the creation of a post-conflict funding channel for Hamas from Qatar and other countries, according to the sources. The proposal, meanwhile, did not even provide for Israel to continue demolishing the Hamas network of “terror tunnels” dug under the Israeli border.

Rather than provoke an open diplomatic confrontation with the United States, the report said, the appalled ministers chose not to issue an official statement rejecting the Kerry terms. Instead, word of the decision was allowed to leak out.

The cabinet was meeting again on Saturday night to discuss all aspects of the 19-day conflict with Hamas. Ongoing efforts were being made to reformulate the ceasefire terms, Israeli sources said.

Channel 2′s diplomatic reporter Udi Segal said “voices” from the cabinet had described Kerry as “negligent,” “lacking the ability to understand” the issues, and “incapable of handling the most basic matters.”

The Channel 2 report said that some of those involved in the contacts with Kerry had suggested that “perhaps there was some kind of misunderstanding” or that Kerry “was only presenting a draft” of the offer, but the secretary himself gave no indication that this was the case when he expressed his disappointment that no ceasefire had been agreed during a press conference in Cairo on Friday night.

Israel and Hamas did maintain a humanitarian truce through Saturday evening, during which Israel continued to track and demolish some of the Hamas tunnels. Hamas ended the truce unilaterally on Saturday night and resumed rocket fire.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, in a TV interview just before the Saturday night cabinet meeting, said Israel needed to continue its ground offensive in Gaza until it was confident that what the IDF had achieved “can prevent a fourth round” of conflict with Hamas and guarantee the safety of the people of Israel. “We have to be sure, the day after a ceasefire, that Hamas cannot restart digging tunnels” and amassing better, more dangerous missiles. “If we haven’t achieved that…,” he tailed off.

Israel was also fuming Saturday over the tactics followed by Secretary Kerry since Friday night in his ceasefire quest.

Kerry flew to Paris and held talks Saturday without representatives of Israel, the Palestinian Authority or Egypt, but with Qatar and Turkey, which Israel’s Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said showed “we’re a long way from a political solution.”

Privately, Israeli sources signaled deep dismay that Kerry engaged in the talks in Paris with representatives of Turkey, whose leadership is openly hostile to Israel, and Qatar, whose leadership is seen by Israel to be representing Hamas’s interests. Egypt was also understood to be deeply dissatisfied with Kerry’s tactics.

Israeli government sources also privately contradicted Kerry’s assertion Friday that his ceasefire proposal was “built on” the Egyptian proposal from last Tuesday. Far from resembling the Egyptian proposal, which urges an immediate ceasefire followed by negotiation, the Kerry proposal leans heavily toward Hamas, the sources said, in tying Hamas preconditions to a cessation of hostilities.
Gilad Erdan on July 8, 2013. (photo credit: Flash 90)

Gilad Erdan on July 8, 2013. (photo credit: Flash 90)

Said Erdan, in a Saturday evening interview on Channel 2: “We will not end this operation and leave Gaza until the tunnels are dealt with.” Israel is also intent on drastically degrading Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure,

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